George Mason inherited 35 people from his father’s estate. Ultimately, he enslaved at least 300 people, many of whom lived on his property on Mason Neck. We know the names of a few of these people such as James, who spent his days as George Mason’s valet, and Nell, who was a midwife and an enslaved house servant. But details about the lives of this group of people are sparse.
By examining documents such as Mason’s will and correspondence and conducting archaeological explorations, we have pieced together information about the community of people enslaved by the Mason family. Records about slavery at other 18th-century Potomac region plantations give us more evidence of what life might have been like for people held in bondage at Gunston Hall. We continue to search for clues.